Thursday, April 13, 2017

Trump privately signs anti-Planned Parenthood law

President Trump recently signed a bill that which allowed states to withhold federal money from Planned Parenthood and other agencies which provide abortions. Furthermore, the normally media friendly Trump decided to sign this bill in private away from cameras. The bill reverses Obama's regulation which determined that despite abortions being an aspect of organizations such as Planned Parenthood, there are still numerous positive services they provide health care, birth control, and pregnancy tests, thus preventing states from withholding money from these agencies. While Trump's signing this act does reflect his personal beliefs and those in his party's in regards to abortions, his choice disregards the beneficial services that these agencies provide to young women. Furthermore, it contributes to the image of Trump disregarding female rights and taking every opportunity to chip away at it. This reminds me of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and the criticism that was associated with it. While supporters of Roosevelt supported his tax policies and the more authoritative government in regards to economy, opponents argued that a more laissez-faire policy without extensive government interference would be better. This is similar to feminist leaders wishing Trump to not tamper with existing policies in order to support his own beliefs. What do you think of Trump's decision to sign this bill? Does it portray him in a negative light? Do you believe Planned Parenthood's positive aspects outweigh its negative ones?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tillerson Brings Tough Line to Moscow Over Russia's Backing for Syrian Regime

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Due to the recent chemical attacks that have been blamed on the Syrian government, the U.S has organized a meeting with Russia to discuss the alliance between Putin and the Assad regime. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson displayed the contempt towards Russia's alliance. He attempted to persuade the Russian government to come to terms with the U.S in an effort to create another alliance with other western countries. Putin, understanding the tension increase has stated that he has "information" that there are extremists who plan to plant a chemical bomb and blame it on the Syrian government. He also took a blow at the ex-President George W. Bush administrations invasion of Iraq as a comparison to the recent missile strikes on Syrian military bases (basically saying that they were both witch hunts). Putin believes that the tensions between the U.S and Russia are higher now than during the Cold War. Do you believe this? Do you think that it could escalate to even a World War III situation? Do you think that Putin will end his alliance with Syria?

Monday, April 10, 2017

United Airlines Passenger Dragged From Overbooked Flight

Recently, a United Airlines flight has forced a passenger off of an overbooked flight in order to make room for United employees. Originally, United had offered passengers compensation and rewards for any volunteers who would willing give up their spot, and afterwards had to select four people to bump from the flight. Out of the four, three left without conflict, but the last, an unidentified Asian man, refused to give up his spot, claiming he was a doctor and had patients to see. Soon after, police were called in and an officer had to pull the man out of his seat quite violently and drag him out of the plane, bleeding from the mouth and glasses knocked askew. Somehow, after being dragged off the plane, he still managed to run back into the plane muttering "I have to go home" before collapsing. While there is no evidence of racism, the man had argued that he was only being selected because he was Chinese. United had said that they use this overbooking strategy in order to ensure full flights, thus more profit, but bumping people rarely happens. In my opinion, I think that how the police officer handled the situation was quite violent and unprofessional, and it reminds me of how blacks were treated during segregation where they were forced to relinquish their seat or kicked off transportation in order to make space for whites. While there is no solid basis of racism or discrimination in this case, do you think that the man still has the right to keep his seat, or does United still have the right to deny service to someone in order give their own employees first priority? In addition, does law enforcement have the right to forcibly treat people this way in order to benefit the other passengers in order to get the delayed flight moving?(Side note, other passengers were horrified, not really happy). Lastly, does the man's claim of being a doctor and his ethnicity change the situation by making him "more important" or "less important" than other passengers?

San Bernardino School Shooting Leaves 3 Dead, Including Student

Two years after a terrorist attack killing 14 people, San Bernardino has been hit again with an elementary school shooting which left three people dead. The shooter was the husband of the special needs teacher at North Park Elementary School. The couple had been separated for the last month and the man had a criminal record including domestic violence, weapons possession and drug possession.  This connects to just about every past shooting in modern day America, whether it be at a school or anywhere. What it seems like to me is that the killers always slip under the radar of the authorities, even though they usually have some violent condition or past criminal record which makes them dangerous to others. This is a terrible act, especially since it seems so close to home, and it makes me think about how this could happen literally any day, anywhere, even at Aragon, which is a sad reality to live in. How do you think these killers keep slipping under the authority's radar? We've seen the elementary and middle schools around our community becoming fenced off to the surrounding neighborhood. Is this enough to protect children in school from the potential threat of shootings? This last question is a bit different. What do you think goes through the mind of a person that makes them want to commit such a horrible crime?

Federal Judge Strikes Down Texas Voter ID Law

A judge in Texas ruled that the 2011 law that made people show a photo ID when voting was intended to be a discriminatory process against Hispanic and African American voters. During this long case the Democratic groups claimed that when passing the law, Republicans “depart[ed] from procedural norms” to prevent likely Democratic people from voting. The Republicans say that they had no intention for it to be a discriminatory process and that it was meant to prevent voter fraud. We know that the Voting Rights Act required federal approval for state's new voting laws. However, the Supreme Court invalidated that part of the act recently. As a result of this ruling, Texas may have to have to have their laws checked again. Because of it’s effect and how long this has been considered I do not think a photo ID is necessary. Hopefully there are other ways to prevent voter fraud that do not cause such an effect. What decision would you have made concerning this law? Do you think that having a photo ID is necessary when voting?

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Russell Westbrook has 50 points, buzzer-beater in record 42nd triple-double


Today Russell Westbrook had a record breaking Triple double breaking Oscar Robertson's 41 triple doubles in a season. Not only that he also did it capping other records such as most Triple doubles with 50 plus points as well as most triple doubles with 40 plus points. However, people believe that with a wider variety of player capabilities, capping triple doubles is easier than it was for Robertson. Who had to compete with Bill Russel and Wilt Chamberlain. As well as there not being many 3 point shooters back in the day. Unlike today where every team has at least one good shooter. In addition to fouling, where back then many plays were hard to pull off because fouls were not called or were a lot harder. Unlike today where we have the hand check and Flagrant fouls causing players to be a lot more careful on the court. Because of this many people are arguing about reapplying hand checking to make defense more effective. This can be tied to Bush's election in 2000 where he received Fewer popular votes but won the electoral college votes. Because of that they questioned whether they should continue the use of the electoral college. Do you believe that hand checking should be reimplemented into the NBA? Do you believe the electoral college should be used to elect the president of the US? Were Westbrook's Triple doubles more easily obtained than Robertson's?

Senate Goes Nuclear To Confirm Gorsuch

Last week Senate Republicans voted on a rules change that allowed for Judge Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed to the Supreme Court (please view article for detailed context). While this is not the first time the Senate rules have been changed, Democrats did so in 2009 to confirm President Obama's cabinet secretaries, this decision by Republicans ends the need for the majority to negotiate with the minority party in order to appoint anyone to a position in the government. In my opinion this is a short minded decision by the Republicans that they will later regret and it also shows an inability to think beyond the time that they are in control. This event is very similar to how the Democrats changed rules in 2009 to confirm Obama's appointments which I also believe was short minded and they later regretted this year when they were unable to block any of Trump's nominees even the ones which were obviously unqualified, ei. Betsy DeVos. What do you think about this issue? Should the majority party have to cooperate with the minority? Will Senate Republicans regret this decision?

Just to be clear, I do not think that this rule change was nor would have ever been a good decision in 2009 or 2017.

Judge Approves Consent Decree to Overhaul Baltimore Police Dept.

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On Friday a federal judge had approved a consent decree that would completely overhaul the Baltimore Police Department. The agreement between the federal government and city leaders has been long awaited. The overhaul will include new technology, training, and new oversight. This agreement was made because of a very revealing 2016 Justice Department report that found that there was a systematic racial bias in the Baltimore Police Department. I would say this is event is comparable to many different civil rights movements, but in a smaller scale since this is happening with only one police department. But I would mostly compare it to the Brown v. The Board of Education court case because while the court case did deem segregated schools unconstitutional, racism was still a part in everyday life for African Americans. That is how I feel about this overhaul. Yes, there are going to be benefits that come with the change, but I do not see how the new training and technology will be able to change ones mindset on race and racial bias. If someone is already racist, I do not believe they can just automatically become non racist because of new technology or new training. What do you think of this overhaul? Do you believe this could make less racial bias in the Police Department? Or do you believe this change will make little impact?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Creator of Emmett Till ‘Open Casket’ at Whitney Responds to Backlash


Recently a new painting has been put on display at the Whitney Museum, in New York City, that has aroused many conflicts between people. The painting of “Open Casket” by Dana Schutz’, was an inspiration of Emmett Till’s death. This painting has brought backlash, and African-Americans saying that the “white” artist has no right to be painting black’s pain and suffering. While others believe that her race does not matter and since it was an iconic symbol of the civil rights movement, her race should not matter. The painting in the past days has been blocked by black artists and has brought hate comments to Schutz. She has recently responded by saying that the painting itself was not easy to draw and she understands people’s questioning of her right to draw it, but it should be “an open discussion”. Schutz claims that she was inspired to create the exhibit due to all the 2016 killings of African Americans by police officers. This reminds me of the civil rights movements, because Emmett Till’s death and open casket pictures played a major role in the movement. In my opinion I believe what Dana Schutz drew was not meant to be wrong, she was only inspired by what was going on around her. I also understand the backlash going on about this, since Emmett Till was such a strong symbol in the civil rights movement, but I feel all this hate shouldn’t be let out on the artist simply because of her race. What do you guys think, is it right for the artist to receive hate about the picture? Is the painting considered culturally inappropriate? Should there be this much controversy about the painting?

White Supremacist James Jackson Says He Killed a Black Man to Deter Interracial Relationships

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James Harris Jackson, 28, is charged with with murder as a hate crime. The "self proclaimed bigot" tried to "kill as many black men as he could" to stop the spread of interracial relationships. His only victim however was Timothy Caughman, 66, of NYC. The army veteran allegedly stabbed Caughman with a sword. Caughman was able to take himself to the hospital, however he died a few hours later. Jackson supposedly was raised "was raised in what was described as a churchgoing, liberal family in a Baltimore suburb, said his ideal society is "1950s America." This reminds me of the hate crimes that happened before and during the Civil Rights Movement. The article concluded that Jackson has "clear psychological issues" but what do you guys think? Was this mindset influenced by parents or other authoritative figures in his life or does he just want to be famous? What do you think his punishment should be?  Comment below :) 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Push for Internet Privacy Rules Moves to Statehouses

Several states are looking to strengthen their internet privacy laws in light of federal rollback of such regulations under the Trump administration. While lobbyists from major tech giants Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple fiercely fight against these privacy measures, both liberal and conservative legislators are joining together to get these bills passed at the state level. With the federal government seemingly siding with large corporations rather than protecting consumers, this situation is reminiscent of when the federal government protected corporations over the rights of workers during the industrial revolution. Personally, I think that internet privacy laws should be a top priority for federal lawmakers. I find the situation to be hopeful despite the strong corporate forces fighting against internet privacy because of the teamwork amongst liberal and conservative politicians at the state level. Do you think internet privacy will be adequately taken care at the state level? What will it take for consumers to push for their rights at the federal level? Who do you think will ultimately win, corporations or consumers?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

US bans larger electronic devices on some flights from Middle East

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New TSA guidelines affects travel on few airlines originating from the Middle East. Passenger travelling to and from USA on Royal Jordanian, Turkish Airlines, Egypt Air, Saudia Airlines, Kuwait airways, Royal Air Morocco, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad will not be allowed to carry electronic devices larger than a cellphone. After the Trump administration’s failed travel ban, this one will again cause a lot of inconvenience to passengers. The fact that the electronic devices are allowed in checked-in baggage is a bit mind boggling since the same risk applies to checked-in baggage as well. There are concerns that this ban may just be an excuse to go over a passenger’s data stored in an electronic device. The Emirates flight from San Francisco to Dubai is 16 hours long and a lot of families travel with kids. Not been able to use an electronic device like a laptop or and iPad will surely go down well with passengers.
The ban is technically related to ten airports in eight countries:

  • Queen Alia in Jordan
  • Cairo International in Egypt
  • Ataturk International in Turkey
  • King Abudlaziz and King Khalid in Saudi Arabia
  • Kuwait International in Kuwait, Mohammaed V in Morocco
  • Doha International in Qatar
  • Dubai international and Abu Dhabi international in the United Arab Emirates.
Are we going too far with airline security? What do you think will come next? A ban on hand baggage altogether?